Hozier plays to just 500 people at Exit/In and shares recent musical obsession

Hozier and Justin Barney Photo by Ray di Pietro

This past Friday, Hozier, who is playing to over 6,000 people at the Ascend Amphitheater in October, played to just 500 fans at the Exit/In.

“A show is all about the interaction with the crowd. There is 20 or 30 feet between the stage and the first row at most festivals or big shows. Here I’ll be able to see the faces of the people in the back of the crowd.” he told me in the parking lot behind Exit/In.

Hozier is doing a series of pop-up shows in small venues around the country before going on a full tour where he will play to ten times the number of people every night in support of his upcoming album, Unreal Unearth, released on August 18.

“It’s fun to do these shows. I feel the energy.”

Before I left I wanted to know what music Hozier has been listening to lately, so I asked him, “What’s the last song you couldn’t stop listening to?”

He said, “It’s a song I discovered quite late. I was listening to it last night. It’s by Nick Lowe and it’s called ‘The Beast in Me.’ It’s really simple. The lyrics to it are beautifully packaged. And it’s delivered in this really stunning way.”

Then, all of a sudden, a song started playing on his phone out loud. It was the a cappella version of “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison. We both burst out laughing. “Myself and the band will just jump into that. Which is a bit of an in-joke now. Which is why its so recent on my playlist. That’s hilarious. Absolutely caught rapid there.”

He went on about “Return of the Mack” –“The vocal adlibs in the chorus are so committed. All those adlibs are written. They are double tracked. And they are in every single chorus. So they are not throw-away even though they sound like they are. ‘Return of the Mack’ really goes hard on those adlibs. You know what I mean?”

Then Hozier finally came back to “The Beast in Me” by Nick Lowe. “It’s super short. In and out. Two verses. A bridge. And an outro. It immaculately hands over the idea of the song and delivers it in it’s bare bones. It’s perfect.”